Sony Baral, Nepal
- Current position: Associate Professor, Tribhuwan University and Executive Director of the NGO “The Resource Nepal”
- Scholarship: Austrian Partnership Programme in Higher Education and Research for Development | APPEAR, financed by the Austrian Development Cooperation
- Duration: 4/2016 – 10/2019
Sony BARAL completed her master’s degree at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) in 2008. She also recently completed her PhD degree at the same university. Both studies were financed by the Austrian Development Cooperation. Her PhD research focused on how community management of forest resources contributes to the implementation of the green economy from an ecological and economic perspective. Recently she has been selected as an Associate Professor in Forestry at Tribhuwan University in Kathmandu, Nepal.
She has been interested in research and knowledge transfer throughout her academic career. Hence this position will really fulfil her interest on the one hand and on the other hand she will contribute to sustainable forestry in Nepal. She is also a founding chairperson and since 2019 working as Executive Director of the NGO “The Resource Nepal” that was established in 2012 and is involved in the research area of environment- and nature-based solutions.
Dr. Baral has over 15 years of working experience in forestry and forest policies in national and international agencies like IUCN, UNDP, UN Women. She has delivered guest lectures in several academic institutions in Nepal. Furthermore, she worked in the areas of policy formulation, change management, participatory research and impact assessment. She has published more than two dozens of articles in peer-reviewed national and international scientific journals, along with several technical reports. In addition, she is a reviewer of several international journals like “Forests”, “The Forestry Policy and Economics”, etc.
My stay and studies in Austria were a stepping stone for me that broadened my academic and research career. I learnt the state of the art in the field of forestry, especially from my scientific supervisor Prof. Dr. Harald Vacik, Institute of Silviculture. In addition, I had an opportunity to experience various cultures and to share ideas with my colleagues from around the world. I believe that this international exposure helped to blend myself in various situations and to become an independent career-oriented person. The experiences which I have gained during my stay in my second home “Austria” were really a life-changing step for me.
Furthermore, my PhD research is highly important for my home country Nepal. My research draws on an array of theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches guided by the green economy perspective. It was framed on the basis of 4Ps (people, perspectives, policy and practices). It assessed and explained how to measure the sustainability of community-managed forests and its practices through the three pillars of green economy: resource sustainability, human well-being, and low carbon emissions. The research findings have been incorporated into national policies, such as the climate change policy 2019 in which I worked as a team member for reviewing the policy. It is expected in the future that community-managed forests will go towards a multiple-use forest management approach. In addition, all the three pillars of the green economy will be incorporated into the management plan. Hence, the appropriate management of community-managed forests will be in place.